The Cincinnati Bearcats led at the half behind excellent contributions from players not named Sean Kilpatrick or Justin Jackson. Those two combined for just 7 of UC’s 27 points in the first half. 16 points came from Cincinnati’s bench players and 13 of those came from true freshmen Jermaine Lawrence, Troy Caupain, and Kevin Johnson. That half truly illustrated how well this team has gelled of late. Cincinnati’s scoring threats contributed just 7 points and 2 rebounds yet the Bearcats led at halftime. That’s depth, y’all, and young depth at that. This team is only going to get better and better as the season goes on.
Those contributions slowed in the second half but it allowed Jackson and Kilpatrick to get their feet under them. Even so, that didn’t stop Troy Caupain from proving why he’s the best point guard on the roster. The true freshman ran the offense like a battle-hardened veteran and created excellent scoring opportunities in transition. It’s clear he’s growing into a stellar player for UC. Caupain finished with 7 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds (fairly average for a guard) but it was his intangibles from the point guard position that helped propel the Bearcats to a win today.
So too did Justin Jackson. Like I mentioned he was quiet in the first half but exploded out of the gates after halftime. Jackson finished with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and a demigod-like 7 blocks. Memphis had no answer for him inside as he stymied them in the paint and in transition defense. Dude was everywhere this afternoon.
Overall, Cincinnati’s defense couldn’t have been better against the Tigers. UC held Memphis to 30 points below their season average and forced an incredible 16 turnovers. If the Bearcats can shut down as prolific of an offense as the Tigers, Cincinnati should have no problem with most other teams in the AAC.
So now the Bearcats sit at 13-2 with a 2-0 record in the conference. With a win over 18th ranked Memphis today, Cincinnati will without a doubt be ranked come Monday. Of course, with the way UC has played in recent weeks using the “disrespect” card, maybe it would be better if Cincinnati remained just on the outside looking in.